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Sensorium Dei. Espace et présence sensible de l'esprit chez Newton

Abstract : What was the context in which Newton elaborated the famous metaphor of the Queries, according to which space can be assimilated to the sensorium through/in which God perceives and acts upon bodies, thereby demonstrating its ability to keep, by its sole presence, planets on their orbits and to reform periodically the system of the world? The sensorium dei constitutes a very distinctive feature of Newtonian metaphysics, based on an original ontological conception that conceives space as an “affection” or “effect” deriving from the existence of God, rather than as one of its essential properties, a suo modo and uncreated being. Such a position locates Newton halfway from More and Gassendi and is intimately linked to the theological attitude reflected in the General Scholium of the Principia, which claims the absolute sovereignty of God over its creation. Furthermore, the very notion of sensorium was elaborated within the context of a cerebralistic and representationalist theory of vision – thereby illustrating the fact that the same substantive principles (a presentist conception of causality, the acknowledgement of physical influence, and a certain coextensivity of mind and body) operate in optics and natural theology, two contexts generally assumed to be heterogeneous.
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Philippe Hamou. Sensorium Dei. Espace et présence sensible de l'esprit chez Newton. Revue philosophique de la France et de l'étranger, Presses Universitaires de France, 2014, 139 (1), pp.47-72. ⟨10.3917/rphi.141.0047⟩. ⟨hal-01551263⟩

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